Tom Arnold‘s had some life. He’s the proud winner of a battle against drugs and alcohol, he’s been married four times–including once to Roseanne, which, he’d probably be the first to tell you, is insane–and he once played second fiddle to Arnold Schwarzenegger in a James Cameron movie, which is basically first fiddle in anything else. He cracked showbiz in the early ’80s as a prop comic, and has done pretty much everything entertainment-related ever since, including a recent hosting gig for the reality show, My Big Redneck Vacation. His next film, Dax Shepard’s comedy Hit and Run, hits theaters August 24. What we’re trying to say is that Tom Arnold knows a thing or eight about how to maneuver yourself through this nutty thing called being alive, so we asked if he’d share some of that wisdom with our dear readers. Tom Arnold said yes.
Dear Tom, I want to show my parents The Sopranos, but am worried about the swearing, violence and nudity. What do you suggest I do? Is there a censored version available?
There is a syndicated version of The Sopranos on TV but if you want to show your parents The Sopranos, show them the fucking Sopranos. You might be underestimating your folks.
Dear Tom, I’m thinking of starting a band but I want to make money at it. What’s the most popular genre of music?
Country/Rock is probably the best genre of music to make some sort of a living out of. I hope you like playing VFW’s, Elks Lodge’s, and American Legion Halls.
Dear Tom, I’m 29 and have realized that I want to be a professional baseball umpire. How do I get my foot in the door?
Go to umpire camp, then start volunteering at Junior High School games. If you have the skills and the work ethic you will eventually get your foot in the door.
Dear Tom, How does one go about getting a celebrity roast? What’s the secret to keeping your cool while being insulted?
Simple, become a celebrity. Hopefully one with a colorful past. The secret to keeping your cool when idiots you’ve never met mock you for having a career they could only dream of is to remember it’s for charity and you can meet them in the parking lot after.
Dear Tom, What’s the best way to start writing for a sitcom? What’s more important, talent or drive?
Start writing NOW. Write at least one original pilot and one spec of a successful, popular series. These are your calling cards. Don’t be afraid of notes from people you respect. You need both talent and drive. Talent without drive leaves you alone in your room with a pile of scripts no one important has ever read. Drive will push you and your young talent onward and upward. Working hard to nourish it so at the very least you can never regret not giving it your best.
Dear Tom, I’m thinking of competing in a marathon, but I’m (according to doctors) 75 pounds overweight for my height. What should I do? Is surgery a viable option?
Who isn’t 75 lbs. overweight? This is America. I don’t usually recommend elective surgery for weight loss. If you live long enough you will have plenty of actual emergency surgeries, so I say just go for it! What’s a better way to kick off a massive weight loss program then completing a 26.2-mile jaunt on your hands and knees? Have your friends take pictures. Place those pictures on your fridge. There is no way to go but up. You will be an American hero.
Dear Tom, I’m in a fantasy baseball league and everybody thinks I don’t know anything about the sport. How can I win to prove everyone wrong?
Dear Tom, I’m looking to get into arthouse cinema. What movies should I start with?
“Art House” means different things to different people, but The Sundance Channel is an excellent place to start.
Dear Tom, I want to do stand-up comedy, but I have crippling stage fright. All my friends say that I’m hilarious and if I just got the nerve up, I’d be a big success. What do you suggest to help me get over my fear? Do you think I’ll be successful?
I applaud you for attempting to tackle your “crippling” stage fright. Especially by doing it the hardest way humanly possible. Stand up comedy is not Toastmasters. Your friends think you are funny so fill the room with them. Eventually you will be in a room without friends. Then you will know if you really are funny.
I’d like to host my own show on the Food Network, but they rejected my audition tape for this season’s Next Food Network Star. Where do I go from here? What’s more important, cooking talent or on-screen charisma?
Try again. It seems as if on-screen charisma is pretty much the one and only qualification to be on TV these days, and the word “charisma” has a much broader definition than it did when I started 30 years ago. Talent is nice too, but talent without the “magic” keeps a lot of amazing chefs in diners.